On September 20, 2001, George W. Bush declared a “Global War on Terror.” It had been just nine days after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the world was still unsure what this war would look like. Americans anticipated direct military strikes in a contained assault. It’s been a decade since Bush’s declaration of war, and most people will agree we’re nowhere near a resolution: countries have been invaded, dictatorships have toppled, and the enemy has evolved and spread out. America is standing on a momentary sense of security with unsteady balance as waves of politicians and presidential nominees fail to provide clear and decisive solutions that would give America a more solid footing as it advances into the next decade.
The boundaries have blurred. We’re dealing with an asymmetrical war with two components, a kinetic war and an ideological war. And both are complex campaigns. On the kinetic front, it is almost impossible to achieve definitive victory when Islamic fanaticism has a shifting face. Even when the landscape is charted, it changes from year to year depending on regional conflicts, alliances, and compounded turmoil that has made it almost impossible to know who we’re fighting against.
On the ideological front, we’re not only battling terrorists; we’re also a nation divided. It took the conservative elite years to feel comfortable enough to identify the enemy. Since then, the enemy was best identified by GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who labelled it as ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ But Cruz also recognizes that the enemy came in another form: Islamism. A form of political Islam also known as Civilization Jihad, Islamism has embedded itself deep into the American landscape through community work, activism, and even through protection of religious freedom. Now Islamism’s next phase is political infiltration, which is already well on its way.
Meanwhile, Islamic ideology remains wholly unquestioned on a national front. And ironically, the only national figure to refine the philosophical component of the greater ideological battle was GOP presidential nominee and business mogul, Donald Trump. Still, the ideological war is the lesser known war. It is also the more complex war and critical war.
Exploiting Language and Narratives in an Ideological Battle
The war against radical Islamic ideology has unfurled into many new constructs that all need to be battled against simultaneously. We’re faced with Islamism and the outright Muslim Brotherhood agenda to soften the landscape as they advance and Islamic movement that is intolerant of even a secular interpretation of Islam. And there’s the underreported brewing fury within Muslim subculture that is waging its own battle to do the work of the last century, by deconstructing and evolving Islamic thought and identity.
And on top of all that, we have the Islamist-friendly liberal narratives initiated by the Obama administration. The Obama administration vehemently refused to identify Islamic extremism, going so far as to call Fort Hood an incident of “workplace violence” and the recent Paris attacks as “anti-Semitic” or “random.” The verbal gymnastics reflect Obama’s longstanding policy of denying theological attribution to theologically-fueled acts of violence. That liberal narrative has continued spinning so far left in fact that it’s venturing into the Twilight Zone.
First, there was a refusal to call a thing by its name – something that still stands today as we face total denial of an ideologically fueled problem. The fact is that the common denominator between Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and even the clout of disastrous authoritarian regimes crumbling upon the Middle East, is Islam. There is only one set of followers from one faith who are systematically waging jihad – even if jihad’s meaningis bastardized – and that faith is Islam. And yet within the liberal landscape, there is a systematic denial of seeing the blatant link between Islam and the epidemic of religious fanaticism.
Liberal denial has grown bolder within recent years, becoming arguably militant in its effort to disassociate Islamic extremism from Islam. It has denied the free use and exploration of language to identify a threat that is common to us all. And most recently, it has launched a campaign to eradicate our ability to use language.
First, language was controlled. Any word or association linking Islam with terror was denied. Now, language is being manipulated by altering the meaning of the words. We’re being told to believe that radicalization doesn’t exist.
Using Proxy Ideologies to Fuel an Aggressive Campaign on Language Censorship
Recently, AJ+ media hosted a video titled “Why Radicalization is a Myth,” that tries to deny the existence of Muslim radicalization while also changing the meaning of ‘radical’ itself. The video features a nauseatingly common and trite-sounding Middle Eastern or South Asian girl who engages herself in a dialogue. But there’s more beneath the cheap veneer of millennial liberalism, with cocky and exaggeratedexpressions that are arrogant in their own fixed world view.
The video launches the newest campaign in ideological warfare: censorship.